ADNOC CEO: "Our industry is focused on the future, not anchored in the past"

In an article penned for the Telegraph, ADNOC Group CEO Sultan Al Jaber talks about industry transformation

Sultan al jaber, ADNOC, Saudi Aramco, Transformation, Digitalisation, Amin nasser
ADNOC by Hugues Bouayed

In an article published on UK news outlet the Telegraph, ADNOC CEO Sultan Al Jaber outlined the position of oil and gas companies in a changing global landscape. 

He emphasised that as the world transforms, with swarms of people moving from rural to urban areas primarily in Asia and Africa, oil and gas will have to meet rising demand. 

"In short, as we enter a new age of technology, the world remains reliant on a 160-year-old industry, whose core mission is to responsibly and efficiently stay ahead of tomorrow’s energy demand," Al Jaber wrote. He calls this 'Oil & Gas 4.0', which means "rethinking how our industry adopts and applies technology, connects with non-traditional partners, shows environmental leadership and most importantly attracts and retains talent."

Al Jaber discussed his strategy for the company, and the rapid transformation it is undergoing, in an exclusive Q&A with Oil & Gas Middle East in April 2019.

"It was clear, when I joined, that the energy landscape was evolving faster than ever before, and we could no longer continue business as usual and expect the same results," Al Jaber told Oil & Gas Middle East. "We needed to think differently, be more creative and move beyond our comfort zone."

While digital technology tends to take the spotlight, increased foreign investment and partnerships with foreign companies is an important part of that transformation. Al Jaber told Oil & Gas Middle East  in April 2019 that this would create two key benefits.

"Firstly, it will allow us to unlock and maximise value and invest in growth," he said. "Secondly it will enable us to accelerate our growth, whilst improving integration across the ADNOC business. It will also enable us to more proactively and efficiently manage our asset portfolio and capital structure."

One example is the Ghasha concession, which has seen ADNOC partner with companies including Austria's OMV, Germany's Wintershall and Italy's Eni.

WATCH: ADNOC: Hail and Ghasha EPC packages will be tendered "very soon"

ADNOC Group has repeatedly emphasised digital technology's central role in transforming the oil and gas sector. In December 2018, the company announced that it would launch a blockchain platform for its internal processes, to eventually be extended to work done with its partners.

The company's Panorama Command Centre is one such step towards digitalising operations. The gigantic digital display at ADNOC's Abu Dhabi headquarters brings together data from all of ADNOC Group's subsidiaries, and is part of the company's move towards predictive analytics.

"We are rolling out the use of predictive analytics to reduce maintenance costs by up to 20%, a significant boost to our bottom line," Al Jaber wrote in the Telegraph article. "Our state of the art Panorama digital command center uses artificial intelligence and big data in order to empower our people to make better, quicker, market driven decisions."

Increasing the use of digital technology is not simply about bottom line gains. ADNOC's inaugural Workforce of the Future Survey found that STEM youth are more interested in joining companies that appear to be linked to technological innovation. Al Jaber says that for oil and gas, it is "a problem of perception, not reality."

He notes that while oil and gas companies have spearheaded many technological breakthroughs, "we are failing to tell our own innovation story in an exciting and compelling way – and that should be a priority because the biggest risk to our industry is not competition from other energy sources, but competition for talent."

WATCH: ADNOC digital operations manager on the company's blockchain platform

This is a sentiment echoed by Saudi Aramco CEO Amin Nasser in his speech at London Petroleum Week, where he said the oil and gas industry was facing a "crisis of perception", and called on companies to communicate more efficiently, among four other areas that he said required the industry's "urgent, collective effort".

"By relentlessly pursuing innovation at every level, we aim to demonstrate to the next generation of STEM students that our industry is focused on the future, not anchored in the past," Al Jaber writes.

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